Thursday, March 18, 2010

Can Creativity Exist in School?

One of students (thanks Paul) recently sent me the link to the excellent TED video by Sir Ken Robinson as he discusses his view that school kills creativity.

This is a fantastic video and an excellent analysis of creativity and schooling. I have pondered on this video since I was introduced to it in Teacher's College. How do we spark creativity in education? How do we stop the bludgeoning of creativity that happens in school every day.

I just finished my second in-class course at Conestoga. We finished up with informal presentations where each student demonstrated their final project. The project was to create a first-person shooter game (it was a Game Development course). When I laid out the assignment description I stressed the importance of creating a project that suited them. The result was 5 very distinct, very unique final projects. I had one remake of the classic NES Duck Hunt game; one zombie-box shooter; one maze game; one helicopter shooter; and one game for those of us who apparently hate tetrahedrons. All distinct submissions that met the loose criteria I specified. In all of the projects, the students learned what was deemed to be important. But perhaps more importantly, they went beyond the assignment description to include features and functionality that I never dreamed would be added. The other interesting side effect was the ownership that each student showed over their project while they presented it. That and the pride they had in their work. Now, I do work in adult education and adults may be better suited to creating their own ideas on projects. But, I don't feel that they are more apt to this form of learning than our younger learners. Adults may embrace it more, because they have had more experience with self-directed learning because they have had to learn those skills ... outside of school. The interesting thing I noted was that with each new assignment, the submissions became more and more unique; more and more creative.

At the end of the day does it matter than one student forgot to add sound effects because they got caught up building 3D models? Not at all, because they learned something more important than knowledge. They learned how to learn. Because at the end of the day, according to this educational researcher, they probably won't remember what was taught anyway ...

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